PORTLAND — Portland Public Schools will not pursue cooperative sports teams for the fall season, but will continue to monitor the participation levels of indoor and outdoor track at Portland High, football and swimming at Portland High and Deering High, baseball, softball and tennis at Deering High.

The district had hoped to have a cooperative golf team between Deering, Portland and Westbrook high schools, but the Maine Principals Association, which governs high school athletics, rejected the district’s application because “it would create a competitive advantage for the combined team,” according to a June 16 correspondence from Aaron Townsend, assistant superintendent.

Deering Athletic Director Michael Daly said last month that golf, swimming and track all have seen a drop in participation and are in “immediate need” of a cooperative approach, which merges teams from other schools or districts into one team. The goal of starting cooperative programs is to ensure student golfers, swimmers and indoor track athletes can compete at the high school level even if their school can’t field a team.

The Portland School System has five cooperative teams, combining the Deering/Portland boys and girls ice hockey programs in 2011; Deering/Portland field hockey team in 2019; Deering/Portland/Cheverus boys and girls Nordic ski programs and the Portland/South Portland wrestling team in 2018.

Future requests for additional co-operative teams, Townend said, will go before the Portland Board of Education by April for proposed fall cooperative teams; by August for proposed winter cooperative teams and by November for proposed spring cooperative teams.